James Ransone's life reads like a more adult Lifetime movie-of-the-week, or a slightly older version of Jim Carroll's "The Basketball Diaries. " A sensitive, creative kid from Baltimore, Ransone (who...
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
|The Man Who Came Out Only at Night||2013||Actor||n/a||20137|
|Tremé||2013 2008 - 2013||Actor||Nick||20137|
|Low Winter Sun||2012 2011 - 2012||Actor||Damon Callis||20127|
|Burn Notice||2011 2005 - 2011||Actor||n/a||20117|
|How to Make it in America||2011 2008 - 2011||Actor||Tim||20117|
|Hawaii Five-O||2013 2009 - 2013||Actor||Johnny D./Perry Hutchinson||20137|
|The American Astronaut||2001||Actor||Bodysuit||20017|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||2013 1998 - 2013||Actor||Tyler Gleason||20137|
|Love Monkey||2005 2004 - 2005||Actor||Glenn||20057|
|Oldboy||2013||Actor||Dr. Tom Melby||20137|
|Downtown: A Street Tale||2007||Actor||Billy||20077|
|The Son of No One||2011||Actor||Officer Thomas Prudenti||20117|
|Red Hook Summer||2012||Actor||Kevin||20127|
|The Good Humor Man||2004||Actor||Junebug||20047|
|Ed||2003 1999 - 2003||Actor||Gary Morton||20037|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||2013 1999 - 2013||Actor||n/a||20137|
|Broken City||2013||Actor||Todd Lancaster||20137|
|The Wire||2007 2000 - 2007||Actor||Ziggy||20077|
|The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll||2011||Actor||Chip Genson||20117|
|Jericho||2007 2005 - 2007||Actor||Daryl||20077|
|Third Watch||2004 1998 - 2004||Actor||Frankie||20047|
|Prom Night||2008||Actor||Detective Nash||20087|
|The Next Three Days||2010||Actor||Harv||20107|
|Generation Kill||2007 2006 - 2007||Actor||Cpl. Ray Person||20077|
|A Dirty Shame||2004||Actor||Dingy Dave||20047|
|Reunited with Spike Lee in "Red Hook Summer"|
|Cast in Harmony Korine's "Ken Park"|
|Made his TV debut in "The American Astronaut"|
|Portrayed Ziggy Sobotka on HBO's "The Wire"|
|Appeared in a supporting role on "Treme"|
|Cast in Spike Lee's "Inside Man"|
|Landed a supporting role on HBO's "How to Make it in America"|
|Featured as a Marine corporel on HBO's "Generation Kill"|
Growing up in Baltimore during the '80s and '90s was no picnic, and Ransone found solace by playing in post-hardcore bands and studying drama at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology, a magnet high school in suburban Maryland. After graduating from the school in 1997 with a degree in fine arts, Ransone moved to Los Angeles and fell in with musician-turned-filmmaker Cory McAbee, who gave the young actor his debut role in the ambitious space western musical, "The American Astronaut" (2001). The film's low-budget, black-and-white experimentation fit perfectly with Ransone's next project, "Kids" screenwriter Harmony Korine's "Ken Park" (2002). Based on the journals of Larry Clark, who directed the controversial 1995 film about a group of disaffected New York City teenagers, "Ken Park" found Ransone portraying Tate, a sadistic teen who engages in autoerotic asphyxiation. Though both films were small-scale endeavors, they proved that Ransone had big-league talent.
Never one to miss an opportunity, that same year a 22-year-old Ransone returned to Baltimore to audition for "The Wire's" upcoming second season, and was promptly cast as Ziggy Sobotka, the dim-witted and criminally-minded son of a union stevedore. Intended to show the difficulties facing a young generation of dockworkers, the foolish, overconfident Ziggy became Ransone's best-known role and the first of several collaborations with David Simon. After leaving the show, he brought his manic energy to fellow Baltimore native John Waters' "A Dirty Shame," where he portrayed a sex addict with a dirt fetish. Small TV roles here and there kept Ransone afloat until 2006, when he was featured as an unlucky burglar in Spike Lee's surprise hit "Inside Man." By then the tattooed actor was living in New York City and developing an expensive heroin habit. Though he was able to keep working with minor appearances in the indie romantic drama "Puccini for Beginners" (2006) and the short-lived TV series "Jericho" (CBS, 2006-08), and even saved his neighbor from being assaulted (he chased the would-be rapist through the Lower East Side with a metal bat), Ransone's heroin addiction was becoming increasingly unmanageable.
So he did what any rational person would do: in 2008 Ransone moved to Namibia for eight months to film "Generation Kill," Simon's brutal HBO mini-series based on reporter Evan Wright's first-hand account of the '03 American invasion of Iraq. Riding in tanks with Marines for up to 13 hours a day proved beneficial for the strung-out Ransone, who portrayed a nerves-of steel driver in Bravo Company, 2nd Platoon. After coming back to the States, Ransone found steady supporting work on a number of TV shows, including the primetime reboot of "Hawaii Five-0" (CBS, 2010- ), and returned to the HBO fold in 2010 with a recurring role as Tim, a Brooklyn-dwelling, urban-farming fashion designer on several episodes of "How To Make It In America" (2010-11). The following year the fiercely loyal Simon cast Ransone on the NOLA-set "Treme" as a stoner line cook from NYC in a storyline that included real-life chefs David Chang and Anthony Bourdain.
The year 2012 may have been predicted as the end of the world, but for Ransone, it proved to be the beginning of a new chapter. In addition to this recurring role on "Treme," he was featured in Lee's divisive "Red Hook Summer" as an earnest summer camp director; portrayed a small-town deputy in the psychological horror film "Sinister;" and shared an Independent Spirit Award with his castmates of the ensemble drama "Starlet." And in a show of loyalty rivaled only by Simon, Lee announced Ransone would be taking over the role of Dr. Tom Melby in his 2013 remake of Korean director Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy."
|Kicked his heroin habit by joining the cast of David Simon's HBO mini-series "Generation Kill" and moving to Namibia for eight months.|
|"It was just good for me to not be caught up in New York City in my day-to-day life. It really helped me a lot to grow and change, being around that much nature on a daily basis, in the most Henry David Thoreau kind of way." - from The Guardian, Sep. 25, 2009|
|In 2006, he saved his neighbor from a rapist outside their Lower East Side apartment.|
|Was just 22 when he was cast as Ziggy Sobotka on "The Wire."|
|"Any new country I go, I realize the less I know, and the luckier I feel." - from EntertainmentWeekly.com, Nov. 5, 2012|
|Has appeared in three Spike Lee movies: "Inside Man," "Red Hook Summer" and "Oldboy."|
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